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SFHA comment on Scottish Government’s response to Benchmarks Working Group report

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The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has commented on the response from the Scottish Government (1) to the Affordable Housing Investment Benchmarks Working Group’s report (2) by saying while it welcomed the increased investment, it had “significant concerns” regarding the government’s decision on continuous improvement and procurement.

Aaron Hill, SFHA Director of Policy and Membership, said: “SFHA welcomes the increased investment for delivering affordable housing and the continued clarification from the Scottish Government that benchmarks are not grant rates or ceilings.

“Since the release of the group’s report in September, the pressure on construction supply chains has worsened, and it is vital that benchmarks remain under review to meet these ever-increasing costs. Failure to do so could pose a threat to the scale and pace of delivery of the overall Affordable Housing Supply Programme. This is particularly important for Scotland’s rural and island areas which have historically faced higher development costs.”

“We have significant concerns about the prescriptive nature of the decision to mandate the use of a series of procurement and measurement tools by housing associations. While we agree that there should be a rigorous process to ensure homes are of high quality, and the need to evidence value for money, this will place additional requirements on our members, which could detract from the important job of delivering more new affordable homes and supporting tenants and communities.

“We will seek to engage constructively in discussions with Scottish Government over the coming weeks around the implementation of these proposals. It is vital that our members are able to play their part in delivering the government’s target of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.”

Notes to editors:  

  1. Letter from Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government to working group members
  2. Report on the work of the 2021 Affordable Housing Investment Benchmarks Working Group
  3. SFHA is the national membership body for, and voice of, housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. It has 137 members across the housing association and co-operative movement.   
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